Jalandhar, March 6
Four days after they first stepped out of their bunkers at Kharkiv on March 2 to board a train (which they eventually couldn’t), the 1,000 Indian students stuck at Pesochin for the past two days finally made it safely across the borders of war-torn Ukraine in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Witnessed horrifying scenes on the way
We saw Kharkiv burn. On way to Pesochin, there were horrifying scenes as entire localities had been bombed, people had died, or left. Our own university was hit. A missile dropped on a building nearby, raining glass on us. Jashneen Kaur, Jalandhar-based student
They reached Ternopil after a 30-hour journey from Pesochin and crossed over to Romania in the wee hours. Greeted with hot hamburgers and dumplings at the Romanian side by the Indian Embassy officials, students said March 2 was among the most nightmarish days of their lives. Their flights are scheduled for tonight and tomorrow.
Fleeing out of a war-ravaged landscape in which much of the town was reduced to rubble in front of their eyes, including bombings at the Kharkiv National University where they studied, students said they had given up all hope.
Speaking to The Tribune from Romania, Jalandhar-based student Jashneen Kaur, who left Pesochin on March 4, said, “We were holed up at a metro station in Kharkiv when the Indian advisory came. It was ‘do or die’. That day we had thought we wouldn’t make it alive. We saw the dark horizon lit up with the yellow glow of a bomb in the night and thousands of glass slivers rained on us when a building was hit just metres away while on our way from Kharkiv to Pesochin.
She said on March 2, despite repeated attempts Indians couldn’t board any train. Locals would beat them up or scare them away by shooting in the air. And then came the advisory to leave Kharkiv.
“We literally saw Kharkiv burn. While going to Pesochin there were horrifying scenes as entire localities had been bombed, people had died, or left. A missile dropped on a building near us raining glass on us. A Ukranian soldier took us aside to give cover. We reached after 3-4 hours. The first night of Pesochin was also very restless, but on March 4 we were evacuated with the help of our consultant Dr Karan Sandhu, who paid for students who didn’t have money. Majority of the students have been evacuated from Pesochin.”
Jashneen said, “We are currently in a huge basketball court which has been turned into a relief camp. We reached here past midnight. We reached Ternopil at 6.30 pm last evening. In Romania, we were given hamburgers and bread last night and dumplings and bread today. There are stalls of sandwich, chips, coffee, water, cold drink and chocolates which are available all day. We are very comfortable here.”
She said: “The place where students need most help is on the other side of the border. Our prayers are with the students in Sumy as we know what they are going through.”
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